The Heart Research Institute's Professor Shaun Jackson. Picture: Kat Stanley Photography
The Heart Research Institute's Professor Shaun Jackson. Picture: Kat Stanley Photography

Aussie scientists’ virus breakthrough

Australian scientists have developed a world-first medicine with the potential to treat the deadly coronavirus.

The anti-clotting treatment has been developed by a team at the Heart Research Institute and is highly effective at preventing the formation and breakup of newly-formed blood clots.

Professor Shaun Jackson said COVID-19 caused a "storm of blood clots" that led to breathing difficulties, organ failure, stroke, heart attack and death.

"Some 75 per cent of ICU patients develop these widespread clots and their recovery

rate is critically low," he said.

"If our medicine can control these clots, then organ failure and death in many thousands of cases could be avoided.

"We want COVID-19 patients reaching for the tissue box, not hooked up to ventilators."

The Heart Research Institute's Professor Shaun Jackson. Picture: Kat Stanley Photography
The Heart Research Institute's Professor Shaun Jackson. Picture: Kat Stanley Photography

 

The team turned to the treatment when news emerged overseas linking bloodclots with COVID-19, having already been working on it to treat stroke.

After successful phase trials showed the drug's safety in otherwise healthy patients, researchers want to urgently move into global phase two trials, testing the effectiveness and safety of the drug in critically ill COVID-19 patients.

They say it could then be a matter of months before doctors around the world could use the novel anti-clotting drug to protect patients with coronavirus, potentially saving thousands of lives.

"We need to act now, and we are urgently seeking funding to get trials under way," Professor Jackson said.

 

His team want to progress to phase two trials Picture: Kat Stanley Photography
His team want to progress to phase two trials Picture: Kat Stanley Photography

Professor Chris Levi, a leading stroke neurologist at the University of NSW, said new anticlotting approaches were urgently needed.

The researchers say their findings will also be crucial in the development of a pipeline of drugs for the management of stroke and heart disease, two of the world's biggest killers.

It comes as other Aussie researchers say a COVID-19 drug could arrive by end of the year.

Monash University researchers have conducted modelling of the drug to show it has significant blocking ability against the virus that causes COVID-19, The Australian reported.

Researchers hope the drug, which could be administered by an inhaler, might be available as early as the end of the year.

Meanwhile, Victoria is facing a dangerous spike in infections, with authorities reporting a "concerning" increase in the number of virus-related hospitalisations.

The state's COVID-19 case numbers are now the highest they've been in more than two months.

 

 

Originally published as Aussie scientists' virus breakthrough


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